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Articles by Melissa Sweet

Raising questions about the cultural competence of health professionals and services

The importance of developing culturally competent health professionals and services was explored at Congress Lowitja in Melbourne recently. Marie McInerney reports: Evidence of why we need culturally competent health professionals and services may be found in preliminary research which is showing different rates of unspecified diagnoses in major hospitals between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and [...]

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A chance to “get social” with AHPRA

One small tweet – but one huge step. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is finally showing signs of “getting social”. Not only has it listened to the Twitter-storm  of concern about guidelines affecting social media commentary about regulated health professionals, it is engaging in the Twitterverse via @AHPRA. Tune in at 12 noon on [...]

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What did you do while the earth was unravelling? Health sector urged to act on climate change

Doctors and medical students gathered in Melbourne recently for a stellar line up of speakers at a Doctors for the Environment Australia conference. As The Guardian has already reported, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt faced a sceptical crowd, with medical leaders unhappy about the government’s climate change policies. Thanks to the tweeters for providing the below [...]

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The TGA – a watchdog with dentures?

Note: A response from the TGA was added on 28 March – see bottom of post. Questions are again being raised about the effectiveness of the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a regulator, with two Canberra University academics suggesting that “a culture of regulatory inertia” is entrenched at the TGA. *** Canberra Law School academics Bruce [...]

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Catch some beautiful songs and stories and have a laugh too: showcasing strong culture

A strong cultural identity is widely acknowledged as important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, and the recent Congress Lowija showcased some inspiring projects. Marie McInerney reports: A chance meeting outside a country town hall inspired a new project for the Stiff Gins – one of Australia’s most popular Indigenous singing groups [...]

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The Racial Discrimination Act needs strengthening – not weakening: a public health perspective

We are having the wrong debate about the Racial Discrimination Act. Rather than moving to water it down, we should be investigating how the Act might be strengthened in order to reduce the public health burden of racism. This argument is made below by Deakin University academics, Dr Naomi Priest, a Senior Research Fellow in [...]

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“If we built housing to suit the community’s needs, we might end up with more children at school and more people in work”

The news that Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion plans to link priority for social housing in remote areas to school attendance and employment is ringing alarm bells for Paul Dutton, a ‘wiimpitja’ of the Barkindji nation in western NSW. Paul Dutton writes: The Minister’s plan looks like putting the cart before the horse. You [...]

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A challenge to Australia: make sure every child has access to affordable healthy food

Marie McInerney reports: Here’s a challenge to Australian politicians, leading food retailers like Woolworths and Coles and perhaps consumers: make sure that every child in the country has access to affordable fruit and vegetables by 2017, “whatever their postcode”. It was laid down last week by global health campaigner Alessandro Demaio who says Australia can’t [...]

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Why aren’t governments tougher on private health insurers?

When considering whether to approve increases in private health insurance premiums, the Government should prioritise the interests of policy holders rather than the industry’s shareholders, suggests one health policy analyst. “William Foggin” writes: It is that time of year.  The cricket season is over, and the AFL is getting under way.  And private health insurance [...]

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Contributors sought for “Indigihealth International” – a new blogazine sharing knowledge and experience in Indigenous health

Ray Gates, an Aboriginal physiotherapist based at the Gold Coast, who was the inaugural president of the National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Physiotherapists Inc., is launching a “blogazine” to cover Indigenous health issues with a global perspective. Thanks to Ray (who tweets as @raymondgates) for taking time to answer “Ten Questions with [...]

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